2 weeks. 15 days actually. Technically that’s 50% of the amount of vacation I’m allowed as a Europeeuhn. Yet being a migrant worker in Holland, I tend to fall through the cracks for alot things I’m “supposed” to have. The point being; 15 days is the longest vacation I have had since… hmm.. maybe since last summer. My destination: Portugal of course.. and more importantly- the awaiting arms of moma and papa.
While in Portugal, I will of course visit my wise and all-powerful friends JP and BadHareDay whom I’ve known since our days teaching English to the rich and famous. I mention this because I spoke with BHD online last night, and he expressed great frustration with my post about the big london bombings a few weeks ago. He said, to paraphrase as best as I can, that if I claim to be a pacifist then I should condemn the london bombings just as I condemn the invasion of Iraq. He reminded me of the non-violent philosophies of Ghandi and MartinLutherKing, which as a pacifist I should be familiar with.
I’m excited to see him, my longtime friend, when I arrive in Lisbon, and I know this discussion will continue. Hell, he’ll probably point out how I misunderstood his disagreement with what I write in this post. But in my own defence I must say the following:
Part of my aim, as a blogger, is to write something from my own unique point of view. Which of course might be shared by others, but is meant to be an original thought. There are plenty of bloggers out there condemning the bombings in london and describing how terrible it is, I have no desire to be YET another.
But I do desire to present a different way of talking about world events such as these. To do more than just say — thats terrible — but to examine what are the causes and factors that influence these events. And I do this not only because I feel there’s a lack of this kind of critical thinking in media, but because it just comes naturally — it is how I, as a simple and often ignorant human being, look at the world.
Back to my vacation, it’s maté time, oh and this man and this feminina are off on vacation as well.
At the fishtank today, I sat down to lunch with mrs toronto’s greatest chef in exile. The man himself was doing his thing in the kitchen. He feeds the fish all summer long. But the conversation at lunch today was one that I immediately thought to bring on the communique.
At one point we were discussing how many Dutch people complain about how everything is “boring” here. Trams run on time, pay checks are decent, things generally work… which apparently gets annoying. You’ll often hear them plotting to move to Spain or Italy, where they believe the laid back pace is the perfect way to life.
On the other hand, I mentioned, many if not most people in Portugal get utterly fed up with buses not showing up on time, crap salaries, and generally how things don’t work. They talk of moving to richer countries, like the UK or France.
Grass is greener on the other side? I don’t think so… I think some people just don’t appreciate how good they’ve got it while the rest of the world dreams of having such a situation.
Hmm.. no linkage today…. thats rare.
One of the reasons I left the united states had to do with debt. No – I didn’t owe any. No I wasn’t in trouble with the mob (hell, I was their favorite reporter). But the mere fact that I didn’t have any type of debt made me an exception – a weirdo. Everyone around me, neighbors, friends, strangers – all had debt.
The kind I knew about was the credit card kind. Tons of friends had it, I almost felt left out. At university there were always tables set up offerring students crack in exchange for a new mastercard with a picture of a forest on it. I was tempted by the forest. I had friends who just needed a new tshirt, so they filled out the paperwork. But for some odd reason, I never accumilated debt.
To me it was inevitable. If I stayed around, in this environment, where debt was a way of life, I would ultimately get some. Which some people would tell me, would be a good thing. – I admit, I’m no economist – but I still didn’t want any, and I worried at how normal it was.
So bam — I moved to Europa. Portugal first, where most transactions were paid through my bankcard (debit). If I didnt have the money, I wouldn’t buy it. No choice in the matter really. Then here in Amsterdam, again – the beautiful bank card. Admitedly, I’ve tried to get a credit card here, but aparently my laughable salary isn’t enough to have the right to get one. Makes me laugh at those college years, where all I needed was a pulse.
But I’m known to be crazy. Where are you all in relation to debt? Me, Im 25 and I feel lucky, I still have none. Course some things don’t change, like so many – I barely get by.
There was a time when I was always in the middle of it. The demonstrations, the political discussions, the cool mob-related scandles… THOSE were the days. I even had my Israeli manufactured gas-mask shipped to me in Europe, to be prepared for all those protests and other rebellious events, I would be attending over here.
But four years on – nothing. During an EU summit in seville, I missed the activist bus, which was turned away at the border with spain anyway. For all the anti-war demos I attended in the Netherlands, it was so calm and organized, I don’t remember seeing any police. Add to that, the general feeling of skepticism that has set in, for anything related to the democratic process and the masses; its clear I haven’t attended a crazy event in ages.
And then I hear about meetings like What the Hack, which will take place in the south of the netherlands next month, while Im in portugal, and I think to myself… dammit. I want to camp for a weekend with international hackers, and make networks out of coconut shells and that sort of thing. But then, just to pour salt on my boring wounds, I read about the Hack-Train they’ve rented, which will be travelling through Germany to the NL passing through various conventions relating to technology and rebellious society…. a TRAIN! dam dam dam. I’m never in on the action anymore.